NJ STIC 3rd Quarter 2022 Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) convened virtually for the 3rd Quarter Meeting on September 19, 2022. The NJ STIC Agenda had been distributed to the invitees prior to the meeting. Participants could use the Microsoft Teams platform chat feature to offer comments or ask questions of the speakers during the online meeting.

Brandee Chapman, NJDOT Innovation Coordinator greeted the meeting participants, followed by Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo who provided the Welcome and Opening Remarks.

FHWA EDC Innovation. Helene Roberts, Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager for the FHWA NJ Office, noted that there are three months remaining in EDC-6 and the EDC-7 cycle will begin in January 2023. She does not have information about the initiatives that will be part of the next cycle, but they should be announced soon. The EDC-7 Summit will likely be held in early December as a virtual event, featuring some states that have used the initiatives successfully, and will be followed by a NJ Caucus, where the NJ STIC will discuss the opportunities and barriers of the new initiatives and consider what initiatives New Jersey should pursue. The final reports for EDC-6 will be completed in January 2023.

Core Innovation Area (CIA) Updates. The meeting continued with presentations from Core Innovative Area (CIA) leaders who provided updates of the status of EDC initiatives on the topics of Safety, Infrastructure Preservation, Mobility and Operations, and Organizational Improvement and Support.

There was a brief break during which meeting participants could take part in a transportation trivia quiz through Mentimeter.

Featured Presentation – Safety CIA Team. The featured presentation was delivered by Daniel Lisanti, Manager, and Jeevanjot Singh, Section Chief for the Bureau of Safety, Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs (BSBPP).

Mr. Lisanti noted that the Bureau comprises three units: the Office of Safety Program Management, Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, and the Office of Complete Streets Implementation. The Bureau manages the federally-funded Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) for all roads in the State, manages the implementation of the 2020 New Jersey Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) for Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, and serves as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) on Complete Streets Implementation. The Bureau also manages technical projects that identify, inventory, review and analyze safety concerns along state and non-state roads, and suggest safety countermeasures, among other responsibilities.

Currently, the Bureau has 214 active HSIP projects in various stages of development. Mr. Lisanti gave an overview of the Bureau and the evolution of the programs over the past decade, explaining that HSIP funding increased and NJDOT shifted from funding low-cost, quick-fix maintenance projects to supporting larger scale capital improvement projects.

Mr. Lisanti reviewed the Bureau’s previous STIC-related accomplishments which include work on the Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) initiative for EDC-4 and EDC-5 involving an action plan for pedestrian crossing countermeasures at uncontrolled locations, and systemic safety projects for midblock crosswalk safety improvements. For EDC-3, the Bureau used STIC funding to hold local safety peer exchanges to discuss Data Driven Safety Analysis and substantive safety and the systemic safety approach.  Related to the EDC-5 initiative Reducing Rural Roadway Departures, NJDOT held a three-day virtual training with FHWA and the FHWA Resource Center.

The Bureau has changed focus to consider why crashes happen, and to take steps to proactively address the risk of a crash. Projects include Horizontal Curve Safety Assessment which is nearing completion, Wrong Way Driving, and forthcoming safety assessments for School Zones and Intersections. Other areas of focus include Vegetation Safety Management and Midblock Crosswalk Improvements on NJDOT roadways.

Ms. Singh reviewed several improvements to the Safety Project Delivery Process to institutionalize safety in all of their projects. The Bureau is using condensed CD checklists in the limited scope process for the Horizontal Curve Sign Program and High Friction Surface Treatment to fast-track deployment. They have included Highway Safety Manual analysis and Complete Streets checklist activities to the Capital Project Delivery Process network diagram to ensure project managers are aware of requirements for HSIP projects. The Bureau is working with consultant selection teams for proposal reviews for HSIP projects to determine the best consultant team. The Bureau has developed a Post Deployment Evaluation process which incorporates three and half years of data. This process has been submitted to FHWA for approval. If approved, the process will be used for assessment of Center Line Rumble Strips, High Friction Surface Treatment, and Road Diets. Ms. Singh discussed the introduction of split funding and job order contracting for Safety Project Delivery using HSIP monies. The Bureau is diversifying their project portfolio and coordinating with NJDOT Maintenance on vegetation management, with Technology on wrong way driving warning systems, pedestrian detection systems, and Lead Pedestrian Intervals, and with Communications on Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and public outreach.

As previously noted, the Bureau is responsible for SHSP implementation. Ms. Singh noted a robust process that has engaged 200 stakeholders. She provided an update on progress on the original 35 priority actions and noted that 22 action items have been added for Year 2.

Finally, Ms. Singh made note of the Safety Resource Center (SRC), a one-stop centralized clearinghouse for transportation safety in NJ. The SRC disseminates information and connects multimodal transportation experts, public officials, academia, and the public to industry resources such as safety trainings, technical standards, guidance, plans, research, case studies, best practices, and technical assistance. In the future, the SRC will be responsible for the NJDOT SHSP plans and updates.

 Reminders and Updates. Ms. Chapman closed the meeting with information and reminders on the online location of several resources that highlight the NJ STIC and other innovation topics funded through research and technology transfer activities, including:

The NJ STIC Innovative Initiatives Survey has been distributed via email. Responses will be shared at a future STIC meeting and innovative initiatives will be featured through the NJDOT Technology Transfer program. The survey will help identify examples of implemented EDC initiatives and other innovative practices in New Jersey, and consider the challenges of implementing innovative practices. Please share the survey with your networks – the target audience is members of local public agencies, MPOs and other transportation professionals. Responses are due by September 30th. The survey can be found here.

Ms. Chapman announced the 2022 Build a Better Mousetrap Competition Winner – The Sawcut Vertical Curb. The Sawcut Vertical Curb method involves cutting a typical 4-inch curb to 2-inches to comply with updated standards for guard rail. The existing guide rail can remain in place while cutting the curb and the construction crew can remove and upgrade the guide rail later. This new method saves time, money, and improves the safety of both work crews and road users.

Ms. Gendek and Ms. Chapman submitted the Sawcut Vertical Curb as the first nomination to the annual AASHTO Innovative Initiatives competition earlier this month, and a winner will be selected by the end of the calendar year. The competition is for proven advancements in transportation technology and AASHTO is using the competition to accelerate adoption of innovations by agencies nationwide.

FHWA featured NJ STIC in the September/October issue of the Innovator publication. Using excerpts from our presentation at the National STIC meeting, the article mentions the STIC Communications Plan, piloting of the Let’s Go! Workshop, and more. You can read the full article at the link here.

Ms. Chapman reported that she attended the 2022 State Innovation Forum in San Diego, CA. The purpose of the forum was to exchange ideas with DOT Innovation peers, helping to shape the future of transportation innovation. Attendees also included AASHTO, TRB, and FHWA who were looking to gain insight into new tools and learn about the needs of the group.

The 2022 NJDOT Safety Summit will be held as a virtual event on October 11, from 10am-12pm. Go to saferoadsforallnj.com for more information.

STIC Incentive Program funds are still available for 2022 and more funds will be available soon for the coming year. The FHWA offers these funds, as well as technical assistance, to support the costs of standardizing innovative practices in a state transportation agency or other public sector STIC stakeholder. NJ STIC receives $100,000 each year. Ms. Chapman asked that the STIC network members communicate these grant opportunities through their networks. Local public agencies are eligible to apply. Find more information, including examples of allowable activities and prior recipients, here.

Amanda Gendek, Manager of the NJDOT Bureau of Research, and Mike Russo provided closing remarks.

A recording of the NJ STIC September 2022 meeting can be found here.

The Meeting Presentations can be found in its entirety here and or in sections below.

NJ STIC September 2022 Meeting Recording

Slide image reading: Welcome, Mike Russo, Assistant Commissioner, NJDOT Planning, Multimodal & Grant AdministrationWelcome Remarks

Slide image reading: FHWA Updates, Helene Roberts, P.E., Innovation Coordinator & Performance Manager, FHWA, NJ Division OfficeFHWA EDC Innovation Updates

Slide image reading: CIA Team Safety NJDOT - Dan LiSanti, FHWA - Keith SkiltonCIA Team Update: Safety

CIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

CIA Team Update: Organizational Improvement and Support

CIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

Feature Presentation: NJDOT Innovative Approach to Safety

Reminders, Announcements, and Thank You

NJDOT’s Commercial Vehicle Alerts Initiative Featured in National Operations for Excellence Webinar

Commercial vehicle safety-related alerts can notify drivers of major slowdowns from incidents and weather to inform decision-making. Source: Sblover99, Wikimedia

The National Operations Center for Excellence held a webinar featuring New Jersey and Colorado DOT initiatives to establish private sector partnerships that use crowdsourced data to deliver real-time information to commercial vehicles to improve the safety of all road users.  Transportation agencies can now deliver in-cab alerts about road conditions through connected truck service providers to help commercial vehicle drivers approach and react more quickly to roadway incidents, work zones, and adverse weather conditions.

For this event, the NJDOT’s Senior Director for Transportation Mobility, Sal Cowan, gave a presentation, “NJDOT Using Crowdsourced Data to Improve Road Safety:  Real Time Communications with Truck Drivers”.  He was joined in making this presentation by NJDOT's private sector partners for this initiative, Amy Lopez, Director, Public Sector Services and Smart City Strategy for INRIX, and Marc Nichols, Director, Government & Industry Partnerships for Drivewyze.

As traffic deaths rise, NJDOT wants to get more information into the hands of drivers about changing roadway conditions – the earlier the better – to inform their decision making in an effort to reduce crashes.  Summoning the key phrase, “Whatever It Takes”, Director Cowan framed the life-saving imperative behind NJDOT's willingness to make greater use of crowdsourcing and real-time data tools to reduce the risk of crashes.  He highlighted how commercial vehicle alerts can inform truck drivers of hazards on the road, such as sudden slowdowns, disabled vehicles, and debris before the truck is affected by the incident. The driver can seek an alternate route or pull over until the slowdown is cleared.

INRIX collects extensive traffic data for state transportation agencies. They provide two types of alerts: "curated" incidents are from multiple sources such as DOTs, Twitter feeds, Waze, police scanners and other sources that are managed by the INRIX incident team; and "calculated" incidents such as dangerous or sudden slowdowns that are mathematically calculated by INRIX and compare real time speeds with free flow speeds at specific segment locations to identify abnormal conditions. The INRIX system has the ability to deliver real-time data that detects and describes sudden slowdowns, closures, and queues by location for specific events. This data is passed on to Drivewyze to send out alerts.

Drivewyze, introduced as North America’s largest connected truck network, provides communication with some 2.8 million trucks via its Drivewyze application which is embedded in the electronic logging device (ELD) of the truck. Drivewyze takes data from INRIX and communicates it to commercial truck drivers. The system works with severity thresholds and trigger warnings so only events that exceed these thresholds are reported. Commercial drivers receive the messages through the ELD in their cab. The reported information can be customized to include notification of specific weather events, incidents, work zones, and bridge and road closures.

A "major winter storm alert" was distributed to several states in the Northeast and reached some 4,811 trucks at a critical time.

NJDOT plays a pivotal role in providing weather and detour related data. Through this partnership NJDOT can collect extensive data regarding issues and incidents that it otherwise could not directly obtain.  This allows the state to identify areas along key highways that produce issues and NJDOT can then begin to identify ways to resolve them. In addition to analysis, NJDOT can work proactively with is partners to prevent crashes.  During Winter Storm Kenan, NJDOT was able to send alerts out through Drivewyze to thousands of trucks across the Northeast to alert drivers to a major winter storm and hazardous road conditions and to take precautions.

The webinar, part of the FHWA's Adventures in Crowdsourcing Webinar Series, had two featured presentations on initiatives to address commercial vehicle safety through crowdsourcing.  The webinar explored lessons from New Jersey, Colorado and other states through presentations and information exchange with attendees from the FHWA, other state DOTs, and private sector partners.  To learn more about the New Jersey initiative and the capabilities of its private sector partners, check out the full presentation here, starting at the 29th minute.   The presentations given by the NJ team and other presenters can be downloaded here.

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair

What is UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair?

Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) is a new material for bridge construction that has become popular for field-cast connections between prefabricated bridge elements. Bridge preservation and repair (P&R) is an emerging and promising application for UHPC. UHPC-based repair solutions are robust, and offer superior strength, durability, and improved life-cycle cost over traditional methods. State and local agencies can deploy UHPC for bridge preservation and repair to maintain or improve bridge conditions.

Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) offers enhanced durability and improved life-cycle cost performance for bridge preservation and repair.

Keeping bridges in a state of good repair is essential to keeping the transportation system operating efficiently. Agencies at all levels can deploy UHPC for bridge preservation and repair to maintain or improve bridge conditions cost effectively.

Stronger Repairs, Extended Service Life

Because of its strength and durability, UHPC can be an optimum solution for some repairs. UHPC can be used in situations that normally use conventional concrete or repair mortars, and in some cases those that use structural steel. Some UHPC mixes gain strength rapidly, so bridges could be opened to traffic 24 hours after completing the necessary repairs. Additionally, UHPC repairs are long lasting and resilient, requiring less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs than conventional methods. In some cases, they can outlive and outperform their conventional counterparts—UHPC repairs could be the strongest and most durable part of the bridge.

Benefits

Versatility. UHPC can generally be used anywhere other types of concrete would be used, and due to its strength and durability, it can be the optimum material for many applications.

Durability. UHPC-based repairs are long-lasting and require less maintenance and fewer follow-up repairs.

Cost Savings. UHPC repairs can outlive and outperform their conventional counterparts, resulting in life-cycle cost savings. UHPC bridge deck overlays and link slabs can extend the service life of bridges well beyond that of traditional preservation and repair strategies.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
ASSESSMENT
(June 2022)

Using UHPC. NJDOT completed construction of two bridge preservation projects in 2020. The agency is currently gathering information on performance and usability from these two pilot projects, which include four bridges using UHPC overlay. First UHPC link slab application is in the construction phase. Additional UHPC Link-Slab applications are currently in the Final Design Phase

Communicating UHPC Information on Bridge Preservation & Repair. The State participated in workshops, webinars, or peer exchanges related to UHPC for Bridge P&R, including:

  • NJDOT Hosted FHWA Workshop UHPC EDC-6 P&R
  • International Bridge Conference Poster Session
  • NYSDOT UHPC Link-slab Peer Exchange 2022
  • ABC December 2022 presentation and paper

What’s Next?

The Future of UHPC for Bridge Preservation & Repair (P&R). The agency anticipates incorporating UHPC for bridge preservation and repair in its new design manual, using data collected from the current pilots and will further investigate performance and examine life cycle costs. NJDOT will use these indicators to determine future usage and applicability with additional research through the Bridge Research Program.

 

UHPC for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NEW & NOTEWORTHY 

UHPC Bridge Preservation and Repair – NJ Efforts Highlighted

UHPC Bridge Preservation and Repair – NJ Efforts Highlighted

The FHWA's EDC Newsletter of April 28th highlighted a project to test UHPC bridge preservation materials, in partnership with Rutgers University Below is a reprint ...
Stronger, More Resilient Bridges: Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) Applications in New Jersey

Stronger, More Resilient Bridges: Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) Applications in New Jersey

How the emerging innovation of Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) is being implemented in New Jersey. ...
Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NJDOT Example Featured

Ultra-High Performance Concrete for Bridge Preservation and Repair: NJDOT Example Featured

The FHWA's EDC News Weekly Newsletter featured how NJDOT has applied UHPC for bridge preservation and repair. ...
EDC-4 Final Report Highlights Innovations

EDC-4 Final Report Highlights Innovations

The EDC-4 Final Report highlights the results of round four of the Every Day Counts program to rapidly deploy proven innovations to enhance the transportation ...

Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS)

What is Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS)?

Solutions for integrating innovative overlay procedures into practices that can improve performance, lessen traffic impacts, and reduce the cost of pavement ownership.

Approximately half of all infrastructure dollars are invested in pavements, and more than half of that investment is in overlays. By enhancing overlay performance, state and local highway agencies can maximize this investment and help ensure safer, longer-lasting roadways for the traveling public.

Improved Pavements that Last Longer

Many of the pavements in the nation's highway system have reached or are approaching the end of their design life. These roadways still carry daily traffic that often far exceeds their initial design criteria. Overlays are now available for both asphalt and concrete pavements that enable agencies to provide long-life performance under a wide range of traffic, environmental, and existing pavement conditions.

Concrete overlays now benefit from performance-engineered mixtures, including thinner-bonded and unbonded overlays with fiber reinforcement, interlayer materials, and new design procedures that improve durability and performance. Asphalt overlay mixtures have also advanced significantly with the use of stone-matrix asphalt (SMA), polymer-modified asphalt (PMA), and other materials and agents that reduce rutting, increase cracking resistance, and extend pavement life.

Benefits

Safety. Thousands of miles of rural and urban pavements need structural enhancement and improved surface characteristics, such as smoothness, friction, and noise. Targeted overlay pavement solutions can improve the condition of highways significantly in a relatively short time.

Cost Savings. Timely and well-designed overlay applications are consistently cost-effective because less subsurface work is required. In urban areas, impacts to utilities and pedestrian facilities are minimized.

Performance. Targeting overlay solutions to high-maintenance areas such as intersections, bus lanes, ramps, and curved alignments can pay immediate dividends in terms of reduced maintenance needs, fewer work zones, and improved safety.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

TOPS in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
DEMONSTRATION
(June 2022)

New Jersey has been a leader in Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS). The following activities occurred in under previous EDC rounds:

High-Performance Thin Overlay (HPTO). NJDOT incorporated HPTO into its standard specifications and has used it for the preservation of good pavement and as the surface course on some composite pavement overlays. HPTO is also used by the Structural Design unit for bridge deck overlay.

Crack Attenuating Mixture. NJDOT incorporated this into its standard specifications and has used it for the intermediate course on some composite pavement overlays followed by SMA surface course.

Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA). NJDOT incorporated SMA into standard specifications and has used it for the surface course on high traffic pavement, for the surface course on some composite pavement overlays, and over top of BRIC mix as overlay of composite pavements.

Asphalt Rubber Gap-Graded (ARGG). NJDOT incorporated ARGG into its standard specifications and has used it for the surface and/or intermediate course on some composite pavement overlays.

Open-Graded Friction Course (OGFC). NJDOT incorporated OGFC into its standard specifications and has used it for full depth porous asphalt pavements in outside shoulders, parking lots, pathways, sidewalks and other low traffic pavements.

Ultra-Thin Bonded Wearing Course (UTBWC) / Ultra-Thin Friction Course (UTFC). NJDOT incorporated UTFC into its standard specifications and used it for preservation of good pavement and for the surface course on some resurfacing pavement overlays.

What’s Next?

The Department is working to pilot a demonstration of Ultra-HPTO / Highly Modified Asphalt (HiMA) on the Rt.42 Pavement Preservation project. The Department plans to monitor closely and analyze the pros and cons of utilizing this type of asphalt mixture on NJ concrete pavements.

NJDOT Pavement Management unit procured new skid testing equipment in 2022. Skid testing by NJDOT Pavement Management unit on high friction surface treatment sections and alternative enhanced friction overlay (EFO) sections will continue using the new equipment.  There are plans to test, analyze, and monitor skid test results to advise the department on future development and use of enhanced friction overlay treatments.

The Department is also working with an academic partner to perform companion testing of these friction test sections with a Dynamic Friction Tester (DFT) unit.

Ultra High Performance Thin Overlay is included in one project (UPC 213090). Specification is finalized and the item number has been created.

Targeted Overlay Pavement Solutions (TOPS): NEW & NOTEWORTHY 

Targeted Overlay Payment Solutions (TOPS): NJDOT Example Featured

Targeted Overlay Payment Solutions (TOPS): NJDOT Example Featured

The FHWA's EDC News Weekly Newsletter featured NJDOT's use of HPTO as a cost-effective pavement preservation tool. ...
Lunchtime Tech Talk! WEBINAR: NJDOT’s Pavement Support Program—Goals, Deliverables and the Future

Lunchtime Tech Talk! WEBINAR: NJDOT’s Pavement Support Program—Goals, Deliverables and the Future

Dr. Thomas Bennert, who leads the Pavement Support Program (PSP), discussed how the group's research supports NJDOT's efforts to improve pavements across the state. ...
Pavement Preservation Treatments at NJDOT

Pavement Preservation Treatments at NJDOT

This video features the work that the NJDOT Pavement and Drainage Management and Technology Unit is doing to advance Pavement Preservation treatments on state roads to increase ...
Paving the Way to Better Roads at Lower Costs

Paving the Way to Better Roads at Lower Costs

Pavement preservation is just one example among many of how NJDOT is committed to keeping New Jersey’s roadways in a state of good repair and ...
Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Asphalt Pavement Preservation at Construction and Use Stages Using Life Cycle Assessment

Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Asphalt Pavement Preservation at Construction and Use Stages Using Life Cycle Assessment

A recent study found that pavement preservation techniques can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to savings for both transportation agencies and drivers. ...

Strategic Workforce Development

What is Strategic Workforce Development?

The demand for highway construction, maintenance, and operations workers is growing while industry is experiencing a revolution of emerging technologies that will require new skills. To attract and retain workers in the contractors' workforce, new resources are available to help compete with other industries and demonstrate the value of a career in transportation.

An Industry and Public Workforce Collaboration

Government agencies, trade organizations, private agencies, and communities nationwide need new, collaborative approaches to meeting this challenge. The nation depends on the highway system, and the highway system depends on qualified workers.

Additionally, increasing the contractors' construction workforce can help communities thrive while solving one of today's most persistent national transportation problems. It also offers an opportunity to recruit minorities and women to jobs that can change their lives, and the lives of their families, for the better.

Benefits
Effective Solutions. Advancing the lessons learned through the highway construction workforce pilot offers the transformational ideas and support needed to fill the gaps in the workforce.

Proven Training. Training programs, practices, and tools from across the country are available to help plan workforce development activities.

Flexibility. Free materials are available to support workforce marketing efforts. Posters, flyers, mailer cards, and social media graphics can be customized with local contact information.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

NJ Advances Strategic Workforce Development

Stage of Innovation:
ASSESSMENT
(June 2022)

New Jersey is utilizing diverse strategies to develop the state's transportation workforce:

Apprenticeship Program.  Has an operations apprenticeship program that is currently in the implementation stage. NJDOT has a one-year training program that includes testing as trainees move through the system.

Professional Programs. NJDOT has expanded outreach to draw attention to its professional series positions by partnering with high schools, vocational-technical schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, and the Department of Labor; working with under-represented communities of interest; expanding its social media presence; and building its pipeline and knowledge base that allows growth into the journeyman title.

What's Next? 

In September 2021, NJDOT participated in an FHWA pilot, Let’s Go! Workshop. In this 2-day workshop, NJDOT participants developed a Mission Statement – “To create career opportunities for a diverse workforce in terms of disciplines, demographics, and career levels in order to meet the demands of the transportation skills of tomorrow".  The workshop participants defined a set of priority actions, including:  Industry Association Outreach; Goal, Measures, Timeline, Buy-In; Regular Meetings and Follow-up Actions; and College/University Outreach.

Since then, NJDOT has continued to seek partnerships with national and local organizations to support hiring efforts and to acquire best practice information. The NJDOT Civil Rights programs has sought to perform outreach in underserved communities and pursue a NJDOT leadership training effort. NJDOT is also exploring potential development of a training program for construction inspection/maintenance.

During this period, interviews were conducted with HR staff about early stages of institutionalizing an apprenticeship program. Engagement activities were held to facilitate connections with Industry Association and Higher Education Institutions (e.g., Union, Workforce Development Boards and County College).

The Strategic Workforce Development Working Group convened to formulate a Department-Wide Mentorship Program; identify Emerging Skillset needs with Partners; and continue Industry Association and College/University Outreach activities.  Research into best practices for identifying emerging skillsets and incorporating these considerations into mentoring programs could assist the advancement of this initiative.

Strategic Workforce Development: NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development – Model Programs, Partnerships and Lessons from Oregon

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development – Model Programs, Partnerships and Lessons from Oregon

We spoke with representatives from Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) to explore their roles and partnership in ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development:  An Interview with NJDOT’s Human Resources

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: An Interview with NJDOT’s Human Resources

We spoke with Kelly Hutchinson, Director, Human Resources at NJDOT about ongoing and planned workforce development initiatives at NJDOT. ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the IUOE Local 825

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the IUOE Local 825

We spoke with Greg Lalevee, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825. The organization collaborates with Hudson County Community College (HCCC) ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development:  An Interview with the Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL)

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: An Interview with the Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL)

We spoke with Nick Toth, Director, New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development to learn about the State’s role in ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ:  An Interview with Hudson County Community College

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with Hudson County Community College

We spoke with Lori Margolin, the Associate Vice President for Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Hudson County Community College (HCCC) for her insights on ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ:  An Interview with the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey

We spoke with Jill Schiff (Executive Director, Operations) and Darlene Regina (COO) of the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey (ACCNJ) to hear their perspective ...

Digital As-Builts

Highway construction projects produce massive amounts of valuable data. Historically, information such as materials tickets and as-built plans were communicated via paper. Today’s transportation agencies are improving on these paper processes by integrating them into electronic and digital workflows. While electronic ticketing (e-Ticketing) improves the tracking, exchange, and archiving of materials tickets, digital as-builts, and other digital information such as 3D design models and other metadata, can enhance the value of contract documents and the future usability of the as-built plans for operations, maintenance, and asset management. Both can increase project safety and quality through efficient data gathering and sharing.

What are Digital As-Builts?

Using digital data such as 3D models to build road projects is becoming an industry standard. Sharing the design model and associated digital project data allows agencies and contractors to streamline project delivery and contract administration and to collaborate on challenges “virtually” before they get to the field. The digital information is further leveraged when the model is updated, and other data incorporated, to reflect the project’s as-built condition for future maintenance, asset management, and rehabilitation activities.

Benefits

Safety. Construction using digital information can lead to safer projects and shorter work zone traffic impacts.

Time Savings. Digital information provided to construction enhances planning and can streamline project delivery. Digital as-builts including utility locations and other asset information will improve post-construction decisions and shorten future project delivery.

Quality. Digital as-builts can provide enhanced historical data, enabling State DOTs to better maintain the transportation infrastructure and develop future projects.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

Digital As-Builts in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
DEVELOPMENT
(June 2022)

The NJDOT EDC team added representation from in-house roadway design staff, traffic engineering, geodetic survey and the CADD Unit along with Local Aid, Construction, Project Management Office (PMO), and the consultant industry over time to develop this initiative.

Before digital as-builts could be advanced at NJDOT, the new CADD platform of Open Roads Designer (ORD) and Open Bridge Designer (OBD) must be fully in place and in full use.  NJDOT's CADD unit has been working with Bentley on a new workspace for ORD and OBD.  Several key steps required completion before the new software could be fully implemented by in-house and consultant designers including development of a new CADD Manual. The EDC team will provide assistance to the CADD unit for this and other activities.

Research. NJDOT has met with the Pennsylvania DOT to learn about their digital as-built program and delivery plan and has contacted the consultant developing FHWA guidelines for 3D As-Builts.

Pilot Development. NJDOT has identified a digital as-built pilot project that will meet various functional and business requirements. The pilot project, Route 138, GSP to Route 35 (MP 0.37 to 3.52), will be designed in-house using OpenRoads Designer (ORD) through mapping submitted in ORD following the new CADD Standards. The mobile LiDAR Survey is in process and preliminary engineering (PE) is slated to be initiated in the fall of 2022.  The team has completed the task of connecting pay items to the design elements to ready the project.

What’s Next?

Next steps will be to coordinate with Construction on the specifics of the post construction survey for the digital as-builts. The implementation team is participating in various webinars and workshops to learn more about the national trends and to hear about lessons learned.

The loss of key staff in the CADD Development Unit and the Geodetic Survey Unit, due to retirements and promotions, has disrupted the team's learning curve for the storage of 3-D As-Builts and integration into GIS.  With the pilot project not yet initiated and construction not due to start for a couple of years, the team expects to adjust staffing levels, groom new subject matter experts, and/or leverage consulting staff augmentation for support.

DIGITAL AS-BUILTS: NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Innovation Spotlight: How DOTs Are Moving Toward Digital As-Builts

Innovation Spotlight: How DOTs Are Moving Toward Digital As-Builts

This article reports on a brief Digital As-Builts Literature Scan and provides references to a select bibliography of research reports, strategic plans and other resource ...

NJ STIC 2nd Quarter 2022 Meeting

The NJ State Transportation Innovation Council (NJ STIC) held its second Quarterly Meeting of CY 2022 on June 15, 2022. The STIC Meeting Agenda had been distributed to the invitees prior to the meeting. Attendees to the online meeting had opportunities to offer comments or ask questions, or use the chat feature.

Brandee Chapman, NJDOT's Innovation Coordinator, greeted the meeting participants and facilitated the meeting procedings. Michael Russo, NJDOT Assistant Commissioner, provided Welcome and Opening Remarks.

FHWA EDC Innovation. Helene Roberts, FHWA's Innovation Coordinator and Performance Manager, noted that there are six months left in EDC-6 and the EDC-7 cycle will be beginning in January 2023. She does not have information about the specific innovations that will be part of the next cycle. The EDC-7 Summit will probably be held in early December as a virtual event and will be followed by a NJ Caucus where the NJ STIC will discuss the opportunities and barriers of these new innovation initiatives and consider what initiatives New Jersey should pursue.

Ms. Roberts noted that New Jersey was a featured state at the National STIC meeting held on June 1st.   The NJ STIC presentation team highlighted several initiatives including the Let’s Go Workshop, the Communications Plan, and the UAS Program.  A recording of the National STIC meeting and the NJ presentation can be found here.

Core Innovation Area (CIA) Updates. The meeting continued with presentations from Core Innovative Area (CIA) leaders who provided updates of the status of EDC initiatives on the topics of Safety, Infrastructure Preservation, Mobility and Operations, and Organizational Improvement and Support.

The Safety update provided a timely overview of a new federal program, Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A), authorized under the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill.  Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Local Governments are among the eligible recipients for planning and action implementation grants for safety improvements.  A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) was recently issued, and the briefing presentation covered, among other topics, eligibility requirements, funding levels, grant types, cost share and match provisions, and key deadline dates for questions and submissions.

The Earn and Learn Program, an innovative partnership of the HCCC and IUOE, draws the upon a state labor grant, NJ PLACE 2.0.

Featured Presentation – Strategic Workforce Development.  The featured presentation(s) explored the potential roles of community college, union and state agencies in establishing workforce training and apprenticeship programs to meet the needs of 21st Century construction jobs in transportation.  The presentations were given by Lori Margolin, Associate Vice President, Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Hudson County Community College (HCCC); Nick Toth, Director, Office of Apprenticeships, NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development (NJDOL); and Greg Lalevee, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825.

Feature Presentation #1 - Continuing Education & Workforce Development, Hudson Community College. Ms. Margolin described the mission of the college and her office focusing on student success and diversity, equity and inclusion. She spoke about the Earn & Learn program, an innovative dual education program created with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825 that allows individuals to earn an Associates degree while gaining hands-on instruction and earning a paycheck in the Union’s apprenticeship program. For this initiative, Hudson County Community College (HCCC) developed a new concentration within the Technical Studies degree major tailored to the needs of IUOE Local 825. Participants are supported through funding from Local 825 and a NJ Department of Labor PLACE 2.0 grant. Ms. Margolin’s office works with employers who are having trouble finding eligible workers. HCCC builds training programs which include experiential learning and create career pathways for students, identifies a diverse pool of candidates, and develops short-term solutions while building a talent pipeline. HCCC is the administrative lead for the Construction Center for Workforce Innovation created this year as part of the NJ Pathways to Career Opportunities Program. The Center will focus on expanding career pathways in construction, creating new partnerships with K-12 schools and 4-year colleges and universities, and expanding the dual education program with new partners.

Virtual Reality (VR) is being used by the IUOE to prepare workforce for operating the equipment and technology of the 21st Century.

Feature Presentation #2 - NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Office of Apprenticeships.  Mr. Toth noted that the Murphy administration’s prioritization of apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs resulted in the creation of the Office of Apprenticeship in the NJ Department of Labor (NJDOL) in 2018. The Office partners with US Department of Labor, and is the one-stop shop for NJ employers, nonprofits, and educational institutions that are working with registered apprenticeships, a formal program that advances workforce development. NJDOL is seeking to expand apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship in high-growth fields. The Office of Apprenticeship seeks to be the connection between educational institutions, employers and advocacy organizations. Mr. Toth reviewed several of the specific programs offered including GAINS, NJ PLACE 2.0, and NJ BUILD. These programs ensure that employers get the talent they need and, with an emphasis on equity and inclusion, provide entry points for everyone. All grants have language that helps to remove economic barriers to training and upskilling through targeted investments. He discussed pre-apprenticeship programs that provide classroom training and curriculum, strategies for long-term success, access to support services, hands-on training, facilitated entry, and occupation-specific training.

Mr. Toth noted that a fairly new requirement of Public Works Contractor Registration is participation in a registered apprenticeship program. The program is one means by which the state of New Jersey can maximize benefits to NJ residents when spending state resources. The contractors that NJDOT is working with have to comply with this new law, and the Office of Apprenticeship can work with these contractors, and provide funding to help them comply with the law. The number of registered apprenticeship programs has increased by 77 percent since Gov. Murphy took office and NJDOL has doubled the number of women in registered apprenticeship programs.

The IUOE Training Facility offers "hands-on" opportunities for using milling and pavement equipment in the winter months.

Feature Presentation #3 - International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). Mr. Lalevee began by explaining that the IUOE is comprised of heavy equipment operators who build the critical infrastructure that NJ residents use every day. Mr. Lalevee noted that Local 825 assesses market needs in order to create a 21st Century workforce that can work on future transportation, energy, and clean water projects. Local 825 chose to establish a technical college that would upskill union members to gain competence with new technology including artificial intelligence, full robotic controls, GPS controls, among others. The Union sees value in partnering with the county Vo-Tech schools to provide a pipeline of future participants for its apprenticeship program. The Union recently hired an in-house academic to create curricula and build partnership, such as the Earn & Learn program developed with HCCC. Mr. Lalevee described their training facilities and equipment in South Brunswick. He noted that two significant barriers to entry to apprenticeships have been transportation and childcare. Part of the incentive for establishing a technical college was to take advantage of NJDOL programs to fund transportation for program participants. He noted that apprenticeships at IUOE Local 825 are in demand.

Mileage-Based User Fee Pilot Program. Zenobia Fields, NJDOT Director of Government and Community Relations, announced that Eastern Transportation Coalition and NJDOT are launching Phase 4 of the Mileage-Based User Fee Pilot Program. Current funding for transportation infrastructure comes from the gas tax. With a shift to electric and hybrid vehicles, a new funding approach is needed. With an MBUF program, drivers pay for the miles they travel. NJDOT is looking for 400 members of the general public to register for the pilot. Go to the website for more information and to sign up by July 31st to participate.

Reminders and Updates. Ms. Chapman closed the meeting with information and reminders on the online location of several resources that highlight the NJ STIC and other innovation topics funded through research and technology transfer activities, including:

The NJ STIC Innovative Initiatives Survey has been distributed via email. Responses will be shared at a future STIC meeting and innovative initiatives will be featured through the NJDOT Technology Transfer program. Please share the survey with your networks – the target audience is members of local public agencies, MPOs and other transportation professionals. Responses are due by July 15th.  Use this link to the NJ STIC Innovative Initiatives Survey.

The Bureau of Research has prepared a NJ nomination for the 2022 STIC Excellence Award and named several initiatives including the creation of the new CIA Team, the Innovation Coordinator position, and the STIC Communications Plan, piloting of the Let’s Go Workshop, the EDC-6 Caucus, and the NJ highlight at the National STIC meeting, among other accomplishments. The nomination will be circulating soon for signature and endorsement.

Ms. Chapman noted that STIC Incentive Program funding is available. The program provides up to $100,000 per state. Applications are due by August 2022. Local Public Agencies are eligible to apply. The NJDOT Bureau of Research has developed a set of guidelines for project administration for selected projects.

Sal Cowan spoke in recognition of Sue Catlett who is retiring from NJDOT after 39 years of service.

Amanda Gendek, Manager of the NJDOT Bureau of Research, and Mike Russo provided closing remarks.

 

A recording of the NJ STIC June 2022 meeting can be found here.

 

The Meeting Presentations can be found in its entirety here and or in sections below.

NJ STIC June 2022 Meeting Recording

Slide image reading: Welcome, Mike Russo, Assistant Commissioner, NJDOT Planning, Multimodal & Grant AdministrationWelcome Remarks

Slide image reading: FHWA Updates, Helene Roberts, P.E., Innovation Coordinator & Performance Manager, FHWA, NJ Division OfficeFHWA EDC Innovation Updates

Slide image reading: CIA Team Safety NJDOT - Dan LiSanti, FHWA - Keith SkiltonCIA Team Update: Safety

CIA Team Update: Infrastructure Preservation

CIA Team Update: Organizational Improvement and Support

Slide image reading CIA Team Mobility & Ops NJDOT - Sue Catlett, FHWA - Ek PhomsavathCIA Team Update: Mobility and Operations

Feature Presentation: Strategic Workforce Development

Announcement: Mileage-Based User Fee Pilot Program

Reminders, Announcements, and Thank You

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development – Model Programs, Partnerships and Lessons from Oregon

FHWA is promoting Strategic Workforce Development in highway maintenance, construction and operations.

FHWA is promoting Strategic Workforce Development in highway maintenance, construction and operations.

Strategic Workforce Development, an FHWA Every Day Counts (EDC) Round 6 innovative initiative, anticipates collaboration between government agencies, trade organizations, private firms communities to prepare individuals for the construction workforce. The demand for workers in highway maintenance, construction and operations is growing, as is the demand for new skill sets required for work with emerging technologies. An important element of this initiative is the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in the construction sector. Through on-the-job training and supportive services program, NJDOT is exploring ways to work with contractors, contracting associations, and unions on shaping their future workforces, including programs aimed at increasing representation of women, minorities, and other disadvantaged populations in the construction and operations workforce.

We interviewed representatives from Oregon’s Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI), including Angela Crain (ODOT Civil Rights Manager), Cye Fink (ODOT Workforce Development and Civil Rights/EE Manager) and Larry Williams (BOLI, Operations and Policy Analyst).  We sought to explore the distinct roles and partnership between the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) in funding, promoting, and providing technical assistance for on-the-job training programs, and pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, to support all workers including women, minorities and other disadvantaged individuals seeking to enter highway construction and other related fields.

Highway Construction Workforce Development Program

Q. Can you please share with us, based on your experience, your thoughts on what seems to be an overall lack of awareness– especially among women and minority persons – of jobs or careers in the highway construction industry?

The ODOT Office of Civil Rights uses FHWA funding to support On the Job Training and Supportive Services.

The ODOT Office of Civil Rights uses FHWA funding to support On the Job Training and Supportive Services.

The lack of awareness primarily stems from the school systems. For years, school guidance counselors have not promoted any path but college to most of their students.  Highway construction is presented as a viable career only to those students who are not going on to college.

We work to raise awareness of careers in highway construction by disseminating information on these opportunities to school counselors and parents, as they are the support system for children. Careers in highway construction offer competitive paying jobs with family- supporting wages. We are trying to reach the students, beginning at the elementary school level because, unless students know someone who works in construction, they are mostly unaware of the career options in the field.

Some of the most successful linkages have been made by teachers who work in construction during the summer months and bring their experience back to the students. For example, they will use construction-related math curricula in the classroom. Shop classes, which were useful in helping students become familiar with tools and various trades, are rarely offered anymore due to budget cuts.

Information about the majority of our DOT programs is spread by word of mouth. We use the testimonials of individuals who have been through our programs, and we do a lot of outreach to communicate personal success stories of program participants. We also work with our partners, Building Trades Councils of Oregon, Akana, Oregon Tradeswomen, and other stakeholders and agencies, to get the word out. And we, of course, participate in career fairs, and high school Career and Technical Education programs to build the career pipeline. As far as encouraging Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and women candidates, our numbers are growing steadily each year with more starting and finishing our programs, but the ratio is still not where we want it to be.

The Oregon Bureaus of Labor & Industries is responsible for pre-pre-apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and apprenticeship programs.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries is responsible for pre-pre-apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and apprenticeship programs.

Q. We understand that 2009 legislation created Oregon’s Highway Construction Workforce Development Program (HCWDP) designed to diversify six heavy construction trades related to highway construction including carpenters and cement masons. This nationally recognized innovative initiative enables registered apprentices and those preparing to enter an apprenticeship in one of these trades to receive support in ten areas, including child care, travel expenses, lodging/meal allowance, tools, and PPE, among others. Are all of these efforts supported through HCWDP?

We use FHWA and state dollars to fund the program and follow federal regulations (23 CFR Part 230) that lay out what these 10 supportive services have to look like. In 2009, the Oregon legislature passed a bill that required ODOT to provide On-the-Job Training and workforce development supportive services, applying language from the federal regulations. Once this law was established there could be no question that the funding would be dedicated to the program rather than other priorities, such as road repair. Since this focus on workforce development is embedded in Oregon statute, ODOT has a pathway for consistent funding.

In 2016 we added hardship assistance to the list of available supports offered by HCWDP. Overall, we are working to support people in getting on a career track by offering supportive services that enable them to stay in the programs and eventually reach journey worker status, which offers meaningful long-term career development. The heavy highway trades are the focus of the program because the workers are mobile. Although there may be layoffs or projects end, as long as they stay in the system, participants will continue to have the opportunity to work on ODOT projects so they can graduate to journey worker status.

Q. ODOT and the BOLI have partnered to meet the goals of adding more diversity in hiring, increasing apprenticeship numbers and providing resources for training. What have been the key benefits of ODOT partnering with BOLI?

Our partnership with BOLI has been vital to our success. In Oregon, BOLI oversees apprenticeships and approves pre-apprenticeship programs. BOLI’s key value to HCWDP comes from their connections with their subcontractors who have experience in promoting and supporting workforce development in the highway construction trades, particularly among women and minorities. BOLI works with the contractors affiliated with the training programs, has authority over the contractors, and maintains a database to track the apprentices. When workers graduate to the journey worker level, they can work anywhere within the state and nationwide. This program offers meaningful, long-term career development.

The ODOT/BOLI collaboration provides needed supports to help people stay in the apprenticeship programs.

The ODOT/BOLI collaboration provides needed supports to help people stay in the apprenticeship programs.

There is no value in ODOT having its own apprenticeship-type programs when BOLI is providing them in alignment with US DOL. We at ODOT are embedding elements in the program including respectful workplaces, Green Dot, Riseup, and third party oversight through Portland State University, who are helping us with planning. Additionally, BOLI receives grants to target particular workforce areas; they leverage our resources at ODOT, while we simultaneously leverage their resources.

From the BOLI perspective, the partnership with ODOT allows BOLI to provide the support side to the apprenticeship programs. If you have the apprentices out there, you need to have the supports in place to help them succeed.

In most cases, BOLI has closed gaps in terms of completion rates for underrepresented demographic groups. For African American men, there has been improvement, but we want to close the gap further. There may be barriers that still need to be addressed. In addition, we have shown that the program works, as it is improving success rates, but it is only available to those apprentices associated with the highway construction trades. For example, we provide child care for a cement mason but not a brick mason. That is an area of concern for BOLI as they seek to determine ways to provide similar supports for other trades moving forward.

Apprenticeships and Pre-apprenticeships

Q. ODOT and BOLI have focused on improving opportunities for individuals who graduate from a pre-apprenticeship program to get more trade-specific training and improved access to registration into a highway trade apprenticeship program. What can you share about this work?

Apprenticeships in Oregon are regulated and supported by BOLI and offer on the job training and classroom training and typically require 2-5 years to complete and may be union-based or open shop. We focus on connecting pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships.

Under the BOLI umbrella, there are apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and pre-pre-apprenticeship programs. Pre-pre-apprenticeships help people overcome basic gaps to complete prerequisites needed for pre-apprenticeships, such as needing a driver’s license, GED or high school diploma. The pre-apprenticeship might provide skills training for those who need hours learning to use tools.

We have worked on direct entry with some of the trades so individuals can join an apprenticeship program without completing the ranking process or interview because the pre-apprenticeship has helped them prepare for the job, with some individuals also bringing work history that enables them to skip one or more levels of training. They have to complete the application and meet minimum qualifications that can be simply being 18 years old and having a high school diploma or GED, and in other cases, may require a minimum level of math proficiency, for example.

Q. Is this effort the same as, or part of, your On-the-Job Training (OJT)? Could you speak about your On-the-Job Training (OJT) program?

Supportive services can increase diversity in apprenticeship programs and the highway construction workforce.

Supportive services can increase diversity in apprenticeship programs and the highway construction workforce.

On-the-Job Training/Supportive Services program funding from FHWA is internally directed to STEM/Engineering outreach, recruitment, and support. OJT is a very small piece of what we at ODOT do; only about two people every year go through this OJT training because most contractors are affiliated with a formal apprenticeship program.

ODOT and FHWA created OJT for candidates with no experience to offer them a chance to begin work with a contractor directly. As part of the federal regulations, OJT is provided through each project. If the contractor awarded the contract has no affiliation as a training agent themselves or they are not Oregon-based, and have no formal apprenticeship program, they can use one of our in-house training programs to fulfill the contractual requirement.

It is the small contractor or the first-time prime who would use this OJT option.  We provide some incentives, including reimbursing $20/hour for every apprenticeship hour. An individual with no prior experience who applies off the street with that contractor must receive training. The contractor is paying journey worker level pay, and OJT does provide a means to recruit candidates from underrepresented groups. It’s a business choice that the contractor makes. The 2,000-hour OJT program trains for labor skills sets, and we also have a 6,000-hour construction project management program. This informal training is not tied to a path to journey worker status but there is the potential for the individual to have direct entry into the apprenticeship system after completing the OJT training.

Q. We know that reliable transportation and childcare are often cited as roadblocks to entry into the construction sector, particularly for women and minority candidates. Can you tell us how supportive services such as childcare and payment of travel costs help sustain apprentices?

Offering incentives and support services for apprentices is critical to their success. Childcare is a big issue. It’s not only single moms who face childcare challenges, but any single parent and/or underemployed families. Awareness of the HCWDP childcare support options has spread through word of mouth.

Work hours for highway construction are long. For example, apprentices may leave their house at 4:00 am to travel 40 miles to the worksite and work 10-hours. The challenges for us in supporting childcare include the costs and finding a provider that has capacity and offers their services in off-peak hours. ODOT/BOLI uses the state childcare provider certification system to identify providers. We give incentives to providers so that they can offer alternative hours to accommodate the long work days. We don’t have enough funds to subsidize all the childcare needed. Childcare is provided using a BOLI-determined sliding scale formula based on economic need and wage rate; the support level declines as the individuals progress through the system and earn higher wages.

The Pre-Apprenticeship Child Care Initiative (PACCI) program began as a pilot to provide childcare supports to pre-apprentices but is now a part of the general operation. Pre-apprenticeship programs, which are often 8-12 week courses in the classroom, may provide on-site child care. We are indirectly supporting these childcare opportunities.

Everything we do helps keep people on the path to journey work. With the regional wildfires displacing workers, we have been distributing hardship funds. Apprentices are eligible for this support. The transition between pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeships is accomplished through Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATCs) and we work with them to connect to the primes and contractors. There is usually a waiting list of apprentices available.

One difficult challenge that we are seeing is that primes are looking for apprentices with three to four years of experience. They have less incentive to pick up the first-year apprentices who will require more supervision and training. We are trying to address this issue and find ways to support these individuals within the system to acquire experience.

BOLI helps individuals find where to start on the path to a journeyworker position and, through its partners, provides support along the way.

BOLI helps individuals find where to start on the path to a journeyworker position and, through its partners, provides support along the way.

Q. What can you share with us about the newer “Build your future. Build Oregon.” initiative and what special efforts are being undertaken to generate interest among underrepresented demographic groups?

ODOT receives federal and state funding for the workforce development program. Through an interagency agreement BOLI provides contract administration and ODOT holds BOLI accountable for the 10 required support areas of the program. BOLI then contracts out all these deliverables through a competitive process. We collaborate with BOLI on the subcontracting deliverables At any one time, BOLI might have six to eight subcontractors. One of the partners, Akana, embraced how to implement all these support services through one of these contracts, and they branded the supportive services piece as “Build your future. Build Oregon.” This effort has helped broadcast information about the workforce development program throughout Oregon and helps make more people aware of various program elements and assistance available.

Q. Are you aware of any model practices currently in use among community-based organizations to support women, minorities, and others looking at the construction trades?

Three Oregon-based organizations that provide support for underrepresented populations are: Oregon Tradeswomen which helps women build economic independence; Constructing Hope which is a pre-apprenticeship program in Portland; and Akana which is a Native American-owned, private sector, for-profit organization.

To increase awareness in careers in construction, Akana presents a podcast occasionally. Oregon Tradeswomen historically runs a women and trades fair with dedicated times for adults and for students. This is an opportunity for individuals to meet with people in the trades and talk about those trades and what careers paths they offer. (The fair has been on hiatus due to Covid-19.)

Q. How do you reach people who are no longer in school?

The average age for apprentices is 29 for males, and a little older for women. Some are seeking a second career, or maybe they have some construction experience, but it was limited to residential construction. To raise awareness of the HCWDP program, we work with various membership groups including: the National Association of Minority Contractors; Portland business development groups; Project Working Groups; Chambers of Commerce; veterans; advisory groups; and Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance programs on and near tribal reservations.

We have found that it is important to help people know where to start. We are working on simplifying the on-ramp to the whole system and providing a flow chart to help describe access to the system. We are looking forward to in-person recruitment events again after the last couple of years of virtual meetings.

Looking Ahead

Q. Do you have any concluding thoughts or advice on what strategies NJDOT can pursue to encourage more New Jerseyans to consider a career in the construction industry?

Seek and access the available FHWA funding, and direct it to your workforce development or OJT/Supportive Services programs. You can accomplish what we have in Oregon without legislative mandates. A lot of states work off their annual FHWA allocation but this would be only about $78,000 for Oregon – definitely not enough to build a workforce development program. Instead, work with your organization and your FHWA division field office to access other federal funding and more recently available Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) dollars.  Without these additional funds, we would not have adequate funding for all our programs and to grow the pipeline and help people move to journey worker status.

In terms of career progression opportunities beyond journey worker, participants could start their own business, maybe becoming a DBE or WBE, and graduate from a DBE program and become a contractor.

It is important to recognize that time is needed to measure success of initiatives like HCWDP, as participants will need two to six years to progress through the system. We have been at this for years and have dedicated partners. You need the sustained funding. There will be no big impact achieved if you can only give out a little bit of money each year to support efforts.

Resources

Akana
http://akana.us/
http://akana.us/odot-boli-main/odot-boli-apprentices/
http://akana.us/odot-boli-main/odot-boli-applicants/

Constructing Hope
https://www.constructinghope.org/

Federal Highway Administration On the Job Training and Supportive Services
https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/civilrights/programs/ojt.cfm

National Association of Minority Contractors
https://namcnational.org/

ODOT/BOLI Highway Construction Workforce Development Program Final Report IAA 30668 July 2015 – June 2017
https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Business/OCR/SiteAssets/Pages/Workforce-Development/ODOT_BOLI_Highway_Construction_Workforce_Development_Program_2017.pdf

Oregon State Building Trades Council
https://www.oregonbuildingtrades.com/

Oregon Tradeswomen
https://oregontradeswomen.org/

Real Help for Working Oregonians – The BOLI_ODOT Workforce Development Program
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sNS5xV9Pa8

National Operations Center Webinar to Feature NJDOT’s Commercial Vehicle Alerts Initiative

The National Operations Center for Excellence will hold a webinar featuring New Jersey and Colorado DOT initiatives to establish private sector partnerships that use crowdsourced data to deliver real-time information to commercial vehicles to improve the safety of all road users.  Transportation agencies can now deliver in-cab alerts about road conditions through connected truck service providers to help commercial vehicle drivers approach and react more quickly to roadway incidents, work zones, and adverse weather conditions. Follow this link to register for the Crowdsourced Data for Commercial Vehicles webinar.

At the 1st Quarter 2022 STIC meeting, attendees received a briefing about the Commercial Vehicle Alerts initiative being undertaken by NJDOT and its several partners to proactively deploy alerts to improve safety and traffic incident management. Sal Cowan, NJDOT Senior Director, Transportation Mobility, was joined by Amy Lopez, Director, Public Sector Services and Smart City Strategy for INRIX, and Marc Nichols, Director, Government & Industry Partnerships for Drivewyze.

For more information about the Commercial Vehicle Alerts initiative, their presentation is here and a summary of the NJ STIC meeting that includes a recording of their featured presentation is here.

UHPC Bridge Preservation and Repair – NJ Efforts Highlighted

FHWA promotes UHPC for Bridge Preservation & Repair through its Every Day Counts (EDC-6) innovations. The FHWA's EDC Newsletter of April 28, 2022 featured Rutgers University's state-of-the-art Bridge Evaluation and Accelerated Structural Testing (BEAST) center.  FHWA has sponsored the use of the BEAST to evaluate emerging bridge preservation technologies including UHPC.  Below is a reprint of the newsletter article that recognizes these efforts as its Innovation of the Month for UHPC Bridge Preservation and Repair.

BEAST® Facility (Credit: Rutgers University)

Wouldn’t it be great to quickly test the performance of a UHPC bridge deck overlay? It can be challenging to test and evaluate the long-term performance of new bridge preservation innovations because it would normally take years of monitoring the in-service behavior of such a technology on actual bridge structures to make an adequate assessment. Alternatively, Rutgers University’s state-of-the-art Bridge Evaluation and Accelerated Structural Testing (BEAST®) center provides a new opportunity to evaluate emerging preservation technologies. Built in 2015, the BEAST facility aims to develop high-quality data of bridge deterioration and to expand our knowledge of bridge performance through full-scale accelerated testing. The facility is capable of enclosing a 50-foot long bridge within an environmental chamber and subjecting the bridge to realistic rolling wheel loads, freeze-thaw cycles, and even the application of deicing chemicals. As a result, this facility can impose 10 to 20 years of ageing in less than 12 months.

FHWA is sponsoring the first project to utilize the BEAST® facility, and seeks to establish the long-term performance of bare reinforced concrete bridge decks and overlay systems among other variables. A two lane, 50 foot simply-supported bridge built with steel girders was constructed and began accelerated testing in 2019. To date, it’s been subjected to over 2-million passes of rolling load, 85 freeze-thaw cycles, and over 3000 gallons of salt brine. As a result, deck deterioration has reached a point where, in practice, an overlay would commonly be installed for rehabilitation and preservation purposes.

Rolling-Load Assembly in BEAST® Lab (left); Bridge Specimen in BEAST® Lab (right) (Credit: Rutgers University)

UHPC is one of the overlay systems that will be installed on this bridge specimen for evaluation. The UHPC overlay will be installed using materials and construction practices that are commonly deployed in the field. Once installed, accelerated testing will resume for at least 12 months, or until significant deterioration is again observed. Data will be collected, which will help establish quantitative measure of the overlays’ ability to perform long-term and under realistic conditions. Data already shows that UHPC is long-lasting and resilient, but at the end of this research, researchers will be able to say with greater confidence how long UHPC overlays may last in service.

For more information on UHPC for Bridge Preservation & Repair, contact Zach Haber, FHWA Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, or Justin Ocel, FHWA Resource Center.